NEW YORK – You’ve probably seen it before: cars whizzing by, dangerously close to pedestrians, bicyclists and other motorists.
It’s a problem that plagues cities across America, and in New York, it’s a serious issue.
New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, recently ruled that the Big Apple and other towns and cities can be found liable for a person’s injuries if an accident occurred on a street with a history of reckless driving and traffic accidents.
The judgment was made in response to a 2004 accident on Gerritsen Avenue in Brooklyn, where a driver was determined to be traveling at over 50 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone. According to court documents, that driver struck a 12-year-old boy who was riding his bicycle.
At a trial, a jury found the city was, in part, responsible for the crash. The city appealed the ruling, which brought the case in front of the seven judges who determined the city does bear responsibility for certain accidents.
A Brooklyn car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says poor road design can be a key piece of evidence that can help victims maximize their claim compensation.
“There are some streets that are like racetracks for some drivers and these areas are often studied by transportation officials in Brooklyn,” car accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Even though traffic studies recognize some streets as problematic areas, very little is done to change them and make them safer.”
Traffic-calming measures are being installed on many streets in America to reduce instances of speeding drivers, but not all roads have these measures implemented.
In the accident on Gerritsen Avenue, the Department of Transportation studied several intersections. According to court documents, the DOT told police that there was a “speeding problem” after each study, but there was little-to-no follow-up.
Potential traffic-calming measures like narrow lanes or raised sidewalks were not even considered, the justices noted:
“It was known among traffic engineers that straight, wide roads with little interference from pedestrians and other vehicles, such as Gerritsen Avenue, encourage speeding because drivers feel more comfortable on roadways with those characteristics. He testified that traffic calming measures deter speeding because they cause drivers to be more cautious, and that such measures are known to reduce the overall speed on roadways.”
The decision puts more pressure on transportation officials to construct safer infrastructure. Brooklyn car accident lawyers say the ruling could also spark more traffic studies around the city and across the state that can determine whether traffic-calming infrastructure should be implemented.
Following the Gerritsen Ave. crash, the DOT converted the high-speed avenue from four lanes to three lanes and installed a painted median in 2005. There were more plans to improve Gerritsen Avenue safety in 2009, but the plans were scrapped after public opposition.
Since 2007, four people have been killed in car crashes on Gerritsen and many more have been injured.
If you or a loved one has been injured, and you suspect poor street design may have played a role, contact the Brooklyn car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes today for a free consultation.
GARDEN CITY, N.Y. – The numbers are in and safe street advocates say there are fewer drunk drivers on the road but don’t let the statistics fool you: there’s still a lot of work to be done to accomplish the goal of zero drunk driving deaths.
According to a newly released study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, motorists report being more responsible behind the wheel: the percentage of those who reported driving drunk in 2014 hit the lowest point since 2001, but nearly 30 million people are still boozing and getting in the driver’s seat.
That’s roughly 11 percent of drivers 16 and older admitting to driving drunk within the past year. A Long Island car accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes said every time an intoxicated person gets behind the wheel, they’re rolling the dice.
“Drunk driving is one of the riskiest, and deadliest, factors in car crashes on Long Island,” car accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “Although the stats might say there are a fewer drunk drivers today, it remains one of the top causes of traffic fatalities on the road today.”
Long Island car accident attorneys say ‘progress’ is difficult to measure. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-fueled crashes in 2015. That’s over 300 more deaths than 2014; even though the rate of drunk driving crashes is the same because drivers traveled more in 2015.
Many safety advocates argue the ‘progress’ made is not nearly enough, and some lobbying organizations are urging states to adopt more stringent laws, like instituting ignition interlock devices and more programs that could recognize and keep drunk drivers off the road.
In some states, a court can order first-time offenders to install ignition interlock devices in their car. These devices force a driver to blow into a straw, which measures his or her blood-alcohol level (BAC). If the driver’s BAC is greater than 0.025, the vehicle won’t start.
In Connecticut, officials reported ignition interlock devices prevented more than 58,000 engine starts over the past year. The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles reports a little more than 7,000 people had the device in their vehicles.
“There are many ways to tackle drunk drivers but it really starts with taking a good look at yourself,” Cellino said. “If you’ve been drinking, be responsible and don’t get behind the wheel. We’ve seen too many cases where someone has been unnecessarily hurt or killed because someone made an irresponsible choice after a few drinks.”
There are many studies in addition to the SAMHSA report that show drunk driving is declining due to education campaigns, strict new laws and the availability of ride-sharing services. However, drugged driving is a different beast.
Recent polls have suggested that many motorists continue to use prescription drugs, some of which can mirror the effects of alcohol. Although they’re also subject to DWIs, these crimes can be challenging to prove in court.
New polls have also suggested that drugged driving is on the increase, and more drivers admit to driving under the influence of recreational or prescription drugs today compared to polls from 2007.
In any case, a solid legal team could gather the evidence you need to get the best result possible from an injury claim. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash and you suspect drugs or alcohol was a factor, contact the law firm that has been trusted for over 50 years.
As one of the largest personal injury firms in the nation, Cellino & Barnes has the network and resources to hire the expert witnesses and doctors who can help maximize your claim. Call an experienced Long Island car accident lawyer today for a free consultation.
NEW YORK – Every kind of injury has the potential to be severe, but some of the most serious accidents result in traumatic brain injuries.
A traumatic brain injury is also known as TBI. Basically, it’s a blow to the head that causes your brain to function abnormally. Even the slightest injury can have a massive impact on your body and health.
TBIs can occur in any type of accident, but the Queens car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say it’s a very common injury when vehicles collide.
“More than half of all reported brain injuries happen in car accidents,” Queens car accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “Even minor crashes can result in severe brain injuries, and sometimes the symptoms don’t manifest for days or weeks.”
Head trauma occurs when a person’s skull hits an object like a steering wheel, head rest, windshield, or a window. What makes TBIs particularly dangerous is that they may not be an open wound or other indication that a person is injured.
In many car accidents, just the force of a collision can cause a person’s brain to strike their skull. It’s physics: an object in motion (your brain) stays in motion until the vehicle suddenly stops in a crash. A Queens car accident attorney says in these cases, there may not be any physical signs that a person has been injured but there are ways to find out.
“When we handle a person’s claim, we gather every piece of evidence that can help them get the best result possible,” Cellino said. “Being such a large firm, we have the resources to get top medical experts and the latest information on brain injuries so that we can not only make sure our client maximizes their settlement verdict; but make sure they get the treatments they need.”
Although a TBI may seem minor at first, brain injuries and spinal cord injuries are nothing to take lightly. These can often be debilitating and severely affect a person’s way of life. Some symptoms may include constant or recurring headaches, unusual fatigue, changes in vision, dizziness, memory loss, or feelings of depression.
If you or a loved one have recently been in a car crash, you may want to call or visit one of the many Cellino & Barnes offices across the New York Metro Area. An experienced Queens car accident attorney can handle your case from start to finish, and make sure that your rights are protected.
Their consultations are free, and you won’t need to pay a fee unless they win your case. Contact a Queens car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes today for a free consultation.
BUFFALO, N.Y. – It was just before dusk on Sunday afternoon. I was walking around the house when something caught my eye outside, across the street in the snowy trees.
I stopped what I was doing and peered out the window through the snow flurry to try to figure out who – or what – was rustling around in the woods. By the time I realized what it was, he jumped out of the trees onto the busy street.
Screeching tires, a blaring car horn and the crunching of metal is all I heard next.
It’s that time of year again; and I’m not just talking about the holidays. It’s deer season; and I don’t mean hunting.
In my story, it was nearly the worst-case scenario: the deer escaped the crash and Prancer made it safely across the street to my apple tree in the back yard. The two drivers that nearly struck the 6-point buck scraped each other’s vehicles. Luckily, the collision was a minor sideswipe and neither driver was hurt but a Buffalo car accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes says animals are linked to hundreds of deer-car crashes each winter.
“Deer are very common this time of year in Buffalo,” car accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “When they suddenly move into the roadway, a driver may not expect it and they often swerve to avoid hitting the animal but this action often causes an even worse collision.”
Although the data is still being collected for the fall and winter of 2016, there’s evidence to suggest this will be a bad winter for drivers and deer. According to new statistics from State Farm, New Yorkers have a 1 in 161 chance of hitting a deer and filing a claim. Unfortunately, with millions of motorists, and the majority of the population living downstate (where there are fewer deer), these statistics may be skewed for upstate and Western New York drivers.
Pennsylvania’s data may be a more reasonable comparison for non-city drivers. In the Keystone State, 1 in every 67 motorists will file a claim after hitting a deer – third highest chance in the nation.
The likelihood of running into Bambi on the roadway more than doubles in the last three months of the year: October, November and December during the animal’s mating season. Add snowfall to the mix and it makes this time of year extremely dangerous.
Not only are deer searching for a mate this time of year – they’re also looking for food buried under the snow, so they’re constantly on the move.
“All the factors are lined-up this time of year,” Barnes said. “The roads are icy; it gets darker earlier; and deer can jump out into the road at any second. Drivers must be alert at all times.”
In rural areas, deer collisions may account for nearly half of all motor vehicle accidents this time of year. Buffalo car accident attorneys say it is important for drivers to maintain control of their vehicles at all costs: the last thing anyone wants is to cause a crash with another vehicle or a pedestrian.
If you’ve been injured in a car crash, the Buffalo car accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes can help you get the best result possible from your claim. Contact an experienced attorney in Buffalo today for a free consultation.
NEW YORK – A Brooklyn man was struck and dragged under the wheels of a tractor-trailer Thursday morning, authorities said as they investigate another deadly accident in Williamsburg.
Police, witnesses and the victim’s family told DNAinfo Moshe Yide Weiner, 21, was walking on Kent Avenue near South 10th Street when he was hit by a truck on Kent Avenue at around 11:10 a.m.
Nearby construction workers witnessed the accident and some claimed they recognized Moshe Yide Weiner, saying he frequently made deliveries to the construction site.
An ambulance rushed the man to nearby Beth Israel Hospital but police said Moshe Yide Weiner later died from his injuries.
A Brooklyn truck accident lawyer says drivers of tractor-trailers must constantly be alert when driving in New York City but there are many more factors that should be analyzed when a person is struck by a large vehicle – including possible problems with the roadway itself.
Each year, thousands of New Yorkers are injured or killed in truck crashes that are traced back to driver error. An extensive legal investigation can analyze a trucker’s driving record and the number of hours the he has spent working; both outside the truck and while behind the wheel.
Although driving records can be important in any investigation, an experienced attorney can find other pieces of evidence that could help a victim’s family maximize their compensation when filing a claim. A thorough legal investigation will look at other factors, including:
Truck maintenance records
Dashcam video from the truck itself or other drivers in the area
Overall road safety
This year has been a dangerous year for pedestrians in all of New York’s boroughs. Dozens of other people have been struck by tractor-trailers on Brooklyn streets this year and many victims have been killed – or they’ve suffered life-altering injuries as a result. In many cases, victims and their families can receive compensation for their injury or loss. This compensation can help cover the following costs:
Loss of protection or care
Expenses from hospitalization
Loss of companionship
Loss of financial support from the victim
Pain and suffering
A successful claim can also spark meaningful changes in our community that could improve the safety for others in Brooklyn so accidents like the one on Kent Avenue that killed Moshe Yide Weiner can be avoided in the future.
BUFFALO, N.Y. – After years of progress, the number of road collisions is on the rise again and if you believe in statistical trends, brace yourself for more crashes.
According to a statistical analysis from Allstate Canada, there’s been a slow but steady uptick in the number of claims. Last year, Allstate announced that it had identified a trend towards rising numbers of collisions and this year, the insurance company says its latest study demonstrates that the trend isn’t changing. In fact, the roads might be getting more dangerous.
A Buffalo car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says the statistics mirror those seen here in the United States – where motorists have experienced the biggest spike in traffic deaths in the last 50 years.
“Highway fatalities steadily declined over the last four decades because automakers have made significant safety improvements and motorists are using seat belts more often in Buffalo,” car accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “Unfortunately, dangerous crashes have jumped over 10-percent this year and distractions are usually a factor.”
Distracted driving is a relatively new concept to drivers in both the United States and Canada. Buffalo car accident attorneys say most drivers weren’t aware of distracted driving before 2005. Thanks to the smart phone, almost everyone who gets behind the wheel knows what distracted driving is – and most drivers admit they’re guilty of it.
What began as drivers taking calls or sending text messages is now a much bigger problem today: we can browse the internet, listen to music, use apps, get directions, and even watch videos on our phones from the driver’s seat. Most of this activity is illegal in the U.S. but at any given moment, over 600,000 drivers are using smartphones or other electronic devices while operating their vehicle, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates.
It’s easy to imagine how a distracted driver could cause a crash: failing to stop at an intersection, stopping short in traffic or not paying attention to their surroundings.
So, it’s not a coincidence that those types of crashes are also the most common accidents on the roads. According to Allstate Canada’s crash data, the most common claims involve:
Rear-end collisions (26%)
Intersection crashes (24%)
Accidents involving parked cars (13%)
The roads also get more dangerous as drivers get closer to the end of the work week.
Data suggests that Fridays are the most dangerous days of the week, accounting for 17-percent of all collision claims. Most of these claims involved:
Multi-vehicle crashes or chain-reaction accidents (19% of Friday claims)
Lange changes (18% of Friday claims)
Rear-end collisions (18% of Friday claims)
Intersection accidents (17% of Friday claims)
Head-on crashes (17% of Friday claims)
Buffalo car accident attorneys say the evidence suggests that drivers are not only more distracted than ever before; there’s also more traffic and even the most careful drivers must be defensive and on the look-out for others who could put their safety at risk.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – If you thought a lot of people were traveling for Thanksgiving, wait until you see the numbers for the holidays in December.
Nearly 50 million Americans came home with Thanksgiving leftovers this weekend, according to AAA estimates. If the trend stays on pace, Americans will more than double the amount of miles traveled over the Thanksgiving break as Christmas approaches.
Last year, more than 100 million people traveled for the holidays in December. That number is expected to rise once again this year as families head home for the holidays despite the winter weather that often goes with the season of giving.
A Rochester car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says the holidays are a joyous time for many families but for some, they can be a somber reminder of how dangerous the season can be.
“During the end-of-year travel period, around 30,000 people will be seriously hurt in car crashes and many of those people will be traveling in and out of Rochester,” car accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “We generally see snowy and icy roads this time of year and an increase in the number of drunk drivers, which can lead to serious accidents on our roads.”
Around 35-percent of the car crashes that occur around Christmas were the result of drinking and driving, according to statistics compiled by the National Safety Council. Less than a week after Christmas Day, there’s New Year’s Eve – a holiday in which nearly half of the traffic fatalities are associated with alcohol use.
This year, both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve fall on weekends, making them extra dangerous because fewer families have to work on the following days.
While there’s a higher risk traveling on recognized holidays, Rochester car accident lawyers noted that the days leading up to Christmas can be dangerous too.
“Many people are throwing holiday parties and many will undoubtedly feature alcohol,” Cellino said. “While most partygoers are responsible about drinking and driving, some are not and every winter, thousands of people get seriously hurt or killed in car crashes just days before Christmas.”
Whether you’re traveling far for the holidays or plan on staying close to home, Rochester car accident attorneys urge everyone to be responsible behind the wheel.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a negligent or drunk driver, a Rochester car accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes can help you get the best result possible. Contact an experienced trial lawyer today for a free consultation.
BUFFALO, N.Y. – As Western New York prepares for lake effect snow, police and other first responders are preparing for a sharp uptick in the number of car crashes.
While many drivers in the region may be acclimated to driving in the snow, a study from 2005 found that the first snowfall of the winter is “substantially more dangerous” than later snow storms. In some cases, the crash rate was 10 to 20 percent higher during the first snowfall.
A Buffalo car accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes says whenever the temperatures dip below 32-degrees, traffic crashes tend to rise but many drivers aren’t used to operating a vehicle in slick winter weather when the first flakes fall.
“Especially after a relatively dry summer, many people have developed driving habits that need to change in Buffalo,” car accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Many of the roads haven’t been treated yet and ice can quickly develop on street surfaces; there are also many drivers who haven’t swapped their tires to winter treads so the first snowfall can certainly have more challenges.”
Researchers at the University of Michigan also found that older drivers face an even higher risk if they’re battling their first winter conditions of the season.
Drivers over 65 were 34 percent more likely to be involved in a crash on the first snowy day when compared to other winter days.
Buffalo car accident lawyers say the study’s results could have a large impact on the Western New York region. Not only is Buffalo one of the snowiest areas of the country, it also exhibits a large population of drivers over 65 years old.
“Winter weather can be risky for drivers of all ages because there are many decisions that need to be made in a short amount of time when the wheels start slipping,” Barnes said. “Aging drivers can often lose a step when it comes to their reaction time and that split-second reaction can often be the difference when a vehicle starts to slip or slide on an icy or snowy roadway.”
Drivers over 65 and teen drivers showed lower fatality rates on the days after the first snow storm, the study reported. With many teens on winter break and older drivers enjoying retirement, researchers believed that the two groups were less likely to get behind the wheel the next time winter weather sets in.
Still, snow and ice is always dangerous.
According to data from the Federal Highway Administration , nearly 900 people are killed and another 76,000 are injured in car crashes when snow or sleet is present.
Buffalo car accident lawyers say the best way to avoid an accident is to stay home when the snow begins to fly but if you can’t avoid the car keys, there are steps drivers can take to reduce their risk:
Drive Slower. Even at slower speeds, snow and ice can triple or quadruple the stopping distance. The best way to stop faster in an emergency is to drive slower.
Use Your Headlights. When the windshield wipers are on, drivers are required by law to turn on their headlights. Especially during heavy snow flurries, your headlights can alert other drivers of your presence on the road.
Update Your Vehicle. Every car or truck should have all-season or winter tire treads to get the best possible traction on slippery roadways. Also, have a mechanic check your brakes and wiper fluid to be safe.
Pay Attention. Drivers can’t avoid an accident if their eyes aren’t on the road. Keeping your mind focused on the task ahead of you can provide you with the crucial seconds needed to stop on time or avoid a possible crash.
Inclement weather is rarely an excuse for bad driving. If you or a loved one has been injured by a negligent driver, Cellino & Barnes can help you get the best result possible.
With offices near you, our attorneys are ready to assist you 24/7. Contact one today for a free case evaluation.
MELVILLE, N.Y. – If you plan on traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, you won’t be alone. According to AAA, more than 48 million Americans will be leaving home for the Thanksgiving break, the most since 2007.
More people are carving out time to visit family and friends this year because the economy has improved, AAA says. Despites moderate increases in gas prices, drivers will have saved more than $28 billion at the pump this year compared to 2015.
It’s good news for travel agents but for safety advocates, the spike in road-trippers could result in dangerous consequences. A Long Island car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says Thanksgiving break is historically one of the most dangerous times to be on the road.
“Other holidays like New Year’s Eve or the 4th of July are often highlighted as ‘dangerous travel days’ but there are actually more car accidents in the days just before Thanksgiving in Long Island,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “Fatal accidents tend to take a sharp jump on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving but we see a rise in the number of crashes throughout the break.”
In 2012 for example, Forbes reported there were more than 760 deadly car accidents over the Thanksgiving holiday, roughly 10-percent more than any other holiday. Based on federal statistics, the Long Island car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes estimate there were more than 50,000 non-fatal car crashes over the four-day holiday break last year.
With nearly 50 million people sharing the road, the traffic could give you a headache too. But safety advocates urge drivers to let the stress go if you plan on taking a road trip.
Get Enough Sleep. It’s true that turkey can make you drowsy, so make sure the tryptophan has worn off before getting behind the wheel. In fact, one study found that staying awake too long has the same effect as driving drunk.
Give Yourself Time. The turkey isn’t going to walk away, so slow down. Long Island car accident lawyers say planning is a crucial part of a safe road trip: people who plan their trips and know where they are going are less likely to be stressed out, less likely to speed, and less likely to exhibit road rage behavior.
Don’t Drink & Drive. It’s common sense by now but it can’t be emphasized too much. Not only can driving under the influence result in hefty fines or jail time, it can cost a life. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that 40-percent of those killed in car crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday were either intoxicated or passengers, sitting next to a drunk driver.
In any situation, you may need a legal advocate if you’ve been injured in a car crash over Thanksgiving break. The Long Island car accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes have helped New Yorkers get over $1.5 billion in settlements and verdicts.
A Brooklyn car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says city kids are more likely to be killed or injured by cars than strangers, guns or terrorism combined.
“Teaching children how to be cautious around streets and traffic is one of the most important safety lessons they’ll learn in Brooklyn,” car accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “More than ever before, distractions and speed are common factors in accidents and children of all ages need to use extreme caution when they’re out of the house.”
Despite the city’s goal of reducing traffic deaths to zero, fatal accidents are actually up 5-percent this year – many of which involve children. Recently, the New York Daily News reported a rash of car accidents involving children.
A Brooklyn car accident attorney says while infrastructure and safety improvements will help, drivers need to be more responsible behind the wheel.
“Many drivers don’t expect or don’t see children before an accident happens,” Barnes said. “These incidents can be prevented by simply slowing down and paying attention to your surroundings but many drivers are too distracted to maintain that focus.”
Brooklyn car accident attorneys are also urging parents to educate their children about the dangers of city streets and ways to stay safe:
Always use sidewalks
Use protected bike lanes, where available
Use safe crosswalks
Always be aware of oncoming traffic, no matter who has the right of way
If you’ve been injured by a distracted or speeding driver, a Brooklyn car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes can help you get the best result possible.
I would like to thank your firm for representing our family on behalf of my late husband. This whole process was, at times, difficult for us and sometimes painful. But, we were always in good hands as Brian and Maria are two of the hardest working and sincerest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. They did a tremendous job.